Dry Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak / Heath Forest (Central Appalachian)

Park specific natural communities coming soon.

Chestnut oak and northern red oak are the most common tree species in this natural community, which occurs on dry exposed slopes with infertile soil. (There are other natural communities with similar composition; this one is found in the Central Appalachians.) 

The Dry Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak / Heath Forest is found on dry, exposed, convex slopes in the northern Blue Ridge mountains.

The range map shows the states in which this natural community has been documented.

More About This Natural Community

This natural community is found on convex slopes with dry and infertile soil. In addition to chestnut oak and northern red oak, other trees include black oak, white oak, sweet birch, various hickory species, and red maple. In the past, American chestnut was an important species here. While you may come across American chestnut seedlings and saplings in this natural community, chestnut blight kills them before they can mature.

Hillside blueberry, deerberry, pink azalea, and mountain laurel grow in the understory. Low plants on the forest floor include Allegheny hawkweed and whorled yellow loosestrife.

For a more in-depth look at this community, click on a link under “Where to Explore It.”

Look for It in These National Parks

  • Appalachian Trail (Central Appalachians)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Catoctin Mountain Park
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park 

Conservation Status

How vulnerable is a natural community? Is it at risk of elimination? Learn about conservation status.

Global Conservation Status: 
G3G4 – Vulnerable to Apparently Secure


Official names reduce confusion by providing a common language for talking about natural communities. Why so many names?

Common Name: 
Dry Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak / Heath Forest (Central Appalachian)
Scientific Name Translated: 
Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak / Blue Ridge Blueberry - (Pink Azalea) Forest
Classification Code: